Braidmen make it three wins from three in All-Ireland League

Ballymena and Dublin University players tussle for possession of the ball during their match at Eaton Park. INBT40-257AC

Ballymena and Dublin University players tussle for possession of the ball during their match at Eaton Park. INBT40-257AC

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Ballymena made it three wins from three Ulster Bank All-Ireland League 1B matches with a 24-12 win over Dublin University on Saturday.

For a good part of the first half of this UBL game Ballymena saw almost nothing of the ball, but the team spirit and determination to defend their line which they have shown in the past was very much on view again, and they kept out the University side who had attacked for the first twenty five minutes.

Ballymena's Dave Shanahan in congratulated by his team mates after scoring the first try of the game. INBT40-255AC

Ballymena's Dave Shanahan in congratulated by his team mates after scoring the first try of the game. INBT40-255AC

They began to assert themselves and work their way down the field and their persistence was rewarded when good work by the pack enabled Dave Shanahan to go over for a try, which Tim Small converted from out wide.

That was the only score of the first half, so Ballymena went into the break with a 7-0 lead, which resulted from the resolute defence and the sharpness of Shanahan.

Ballymena extended their lead shortly after time when an interchange of passes by Sean Taylor and Tim Small put Tim over for a try, which he failed to convert.

At this stage the home team were very much in control, so it was against the run of play when Dublin University capitalised on a series of Ballymena mistakes and crossed for an unconverted try, to reduce the Ballymena lead to seven.

However, they soon restored the twelve point lead, when the ball broke from a ruck to be gathered by Connor Smyth who offloaded beautifully to Sean Taylor for him to get the first of his two tries of the day.

Tim Small converted to make the score 19-5.

Ballymena’s dominance of the game continued, and produced the fourth, bonus point, try of the game when Sean Taylor, who had a fine game throughout, crossed for his second try. Stephen Mulholland, whose work rate in defence and attack was outstanding, was awarded the ‘Man of the Match’ trophy, but Pete Mackenzie, Director of Rugby, had nothing but praise for the outstanding defence from everyone on the team.

Ballymena will make the trip to Limerick to face UL Bohemians in confident form this Saturday.

If the Braidmen can return home with another victory under their belts, it will put them n a commanding position ahead of the resumption of the Ulster Senior League and start of the Ulster Senior Cup.